Health Benefits of Carrots

Health Benefits of Carrots

Carrot has remarkable nutritional and health benefits. There are good reasons to include carrots in human diet, since they are enriched with carotenoids, phenolic compounds, polyacetylenes, and vitamins and by this reason they may help reduce the risk of some diseases. Experimental evidence has reported that these carrot compounds exert antioxidative, anticarcinogenic, and immunoenhancer effects. Antidiabetic, cholesterol and cardiovascular disease lowering, anti-hypertensive, hepatoprotective, renoprotective, and wound healing benefits of carrot have also been reported. The mechanism by which these carrot compounds decrease the risk of some diseases is complex and sometimes largely unknown.

Like many other colored vegetables carrot is a gold mine of antioxidants. Carotenoids, polyphenols and vitamins present in carrot act as antioxidants, anticarcinogens, and immunoenhancers. Carotenoids widely distributed in orange carrots are potent antioxidants which can neutralize the effect of free radicals. They have been shown to have inhibition mutagenesis activity contributing to decrease risk of some cancers. Zhang and Hamauzuet reported that flavonoids and phenolic derivates, present in carrot roots play also an important role as antioxidants. They also exert anticarcinogenic activities, reduce inflammatory insult, and modulate immune response.

Zaini et al. reported:

The anti-carcinogenic effect of carrot juice extracts on myeloid and lymphoid leukemia cell lines. In vitro analysis was done on 72 hours incubation of carrot juice extracts in leukemia cell lines and non-tumor control cells. It was observed that carrot juice extract possessed the ability to induce apoptosis and cause cell cycle arrest in leukemia cell lines. The effect was less prominent in myeloid and hematopoietic
stem cells. Those investigators considered that β-carotene and falcarinol present in the carrot juice extract may have been responsible for this beneficial effect of “kill” leukemia cells and inhibit their progression.

Carotenoids of carrots that have no vitamin A activity (lycopen, lutein, and zeaxanthin) may shrink also a diabetic’s risk of developing diabetic retinopathy since as observed recently type 2 diabetics who had lower levels of no vitamin A activity carotenoids, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin, had corresponding higher levels of retinopathy.

Besides cart loads of β-carotene and other carotenoids, carrots contain vitamins such as vitamin C and K, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), pyridoxine (B6) and folates (B9), necessary for metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy growth. Vitamin C promotes the absorption of non-heme iron and is required for fighting infections and vitamin K helps preventing bleeding. Thiamin (B1) has highly beneficial effects on our nervous system and mental attitude; riboflavin is necessary for cell respiration, and red blood cell formation; pyridoxine inhibits the formation of homocysteine and reduces the risk of heart disease; and folates may reduce the risk of heart attack by lowering homocysteine levels. High levels of homocysteine have been found to be associated with an increased risk of hardening of arteries due to the accumulation of fatty plaques. It also protects against birth defects in babies.

The cardio- and hepatoprotective, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects of carrot seed extracts are also noteworthy.


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